October 21, 2010
Media Release

Second hand smoke increases risks for breast cancer

Canadian Expert Panel outlines conclusive evidence in a recent report
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York encourages young women to be smoke-free and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke as evidence shows that it puts them at higher risk for breast cancer.
 
An April 2009 review of more than 100 studies conducted by 11 Canadian and American specialists - Canadian Expert Panel on Tobacco Smoke and Breast Cancer Risk - concluded that all women who smoke increase their risk of breast cancer by 50 to 70 per cent.  Still more alarming, is evidence from the report that shows young women who don’t smoke, but who are exposed to second-hand smoke, have up to 50 per cent higher risk of being diagnosed with pre-menopausal breast cancer.
 
Second-hand smoke is a mixture of the smoke exhaled by a smoker and the smoke that comes off the burning end of a cigarette.  It contains the same 4,000 chemicals as first-hand smoke, but has some of the chemical components in higher concentrations. There is no safe level of second-hand smoke. The report indicates that young girls exposed to second-hand smoke will have a long-term increased risk of breast cancer in adulthood.  Some of the more immediate effects from exposure to second-hand smoke can be increased risk of asthma, bronchitis, chest infections and throat irritation. 
 
Avoiding tobacco smoke is one way to reduce the risk of breast cancer.  It is also important to be physically active, eat well by following Canada’s Food Guide, maintain a healthy body weight, limit alcohol intake and participate in breast screening programs.  Details about breast screening programs can be found on the Cancer Care Ontario website, www.cancercare.on.ca
 
The full report can be found at http://www.otru.org/pdf/special/expert_panel_tobacco_breast_cancer.pdf
 
For more public health-related information, please visit www.york.ca/cancerscreening or contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933.
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca/cancerscreening.
 

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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 / After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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